Courses

Learn to develop Android and iOS applications and Web Development within six weeks from a teacher with real-world experience. Get a 75% discount if you buy it here!

I'm taking Rob's course with absolutely no prior experience. A good week later it feels like I know HTML and CSS like the back of my hand." — Jonathan M.
Who knew that learning how to start coding was this simple. The course is clear, concise, and loaded with extras!! Thanks a ton! — Raheim Smith
Even when the course gets a bit complicated, there's always the Discussion forum where Rob as well as other students are actively helping each other. This course is not to be missed. — Ingrid S.
Rob is an excellent teacher and uses simple terms of speech all throughout the course. — Ankit Rawat
I have been very impressed with the course material and the crystal clear explanation of concepts. Any beginner who opts for this course will feel enriched at the time of course completion. — Shiva Rajagopal
I'm a Copywriter in a Digital Agency, I was searching for courses that'll help me broaden my skill set. Before signing up for Rob's course I tried many web development courses, but no course comes close to this course. — Shivram
Easy to pick up & quick to get running with, the course has given me a great start into programming. — Peter Greaves

My experiences with Code Club (Part 1)

This is the first in a series of posts on my experiences volunteering with Code Club at St Lukes Primary School in Cambridge. My first session is in two weeks, so this is just my impressions before I start.

First off, I love the idea. Coding is just beginning to gain traction in UK schools, and as a concept, using coders to teach has huge benefits for the students, teachers, and the volunteers themselves. I’m really looking forward to getting started.

Second, the website is excellent. Signup was fast and straightforward – I contacted one school in my area, who it turned out had just taken on another volunteer. After a couple of weeks I was notified about St Luke’s – I sent an email through the website and after a couple of emails and a phone call we were set for September. A great experience.

Third, I had a brief exchange with one of the founders over email – they contacted me about CRBs (a crucial thing to get right) and were friendly and approachable, another big tick.

Fourth, the materials look great. I wouldn’t have had a clue how to approach Python with ten year olds, but the materials are well made, attractive and the coding tasks seem engaging and interesting. I’ll have more feedback when I try them out, but for now I’m confident that I have some great content to deliver.

Finally, they have done a great job of publicising themselves. I’ve been surprised by the number of people that have heard of them, and their growth in terms of the number of schools on board in a little over a year is impressive. Write-ups in the press have been very positive. They had a good idea at the right time and have implemented it well.

I’ll write more about my experiences after my first session – if you’re running a club or have any advice, please do get in touch in the comments or through Twitter.

About Me

robI am a developer, teacher and entrepeneur working primarily in education based in Cambridge, UK. Currently, I am teaching students to develop apps at Stephen Perse School in Cambridge and developing an app for the CIMT MEP materials for Plymouth University. I run the Cambridge University STIMULUS scheme, placing university students in local schools as teaching assistants. I am a trainer on the Osiris Outstanding Teacher Intervention. I also own and run Eco Web Hosting (read reviews here).

I have a 2:1 in Mathematics from Cambridge University, and taught Mathematics for ten years at Highgate School, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and the Stephen Perse Foundation. I also have a Masters in Education, and a degree in Theology from the University of London. I’m a volunteer for Code Club at St Luke’s School in North Cambridge.

I am also a freelance web and app developer, specialising in PHP/MySQL backends and jQuery Mobile and Cordova frontend work. I’m currently working on Freelance Aggregator and BasketRecovery.net as side projects.

You can get in touch through Twitter, or by leaving a message below.

Teaching students to build apps

Coding is slowly becoming accepted as something that our children need to learn. Not only are the skills of coding needed for the UK to compete in international markets, but coding is becoming recognised as a way to teach skills of logic, organisation and design. It’s even been called the new Latin.

So far so good. But there is a problem here – when I’ve taught coding to kids, while there has been a fair amount of excitement at being able to control a computer in a new way, there has been a disconnect between what they can do with code and what they want to achieve. We’re selling the idea that coding can enable them to create apps, games, and websites, but the early lessons are a real turn off form many as they learn how to make text bold, add the title to a page and open links in new windows. Even after a few weeks’ of lessons, most students are a long way from seeing the big picture of how they can use these languages to create.

This is why I am going to be working with students at the Stephen Perse Foundation to build apps directly, without any coding. Programming is really just a means to an end, just as we use language to describe emotions and tell stories. For me, the most interesting (and most difficult) part of making an app is the design and content. An app or website has to be attractive and functional, have great content, and allow the user to do, learn or enjoy something in a way they can’t do with any of the myriad apps that are already available – this is a big ask.

I’ve created a system that will allow the students to focus on the content and interaction and build apps that allow them to teach others a topic (school-based or otherwise) without any coding. I’ll give more information on the app in a future post, and I’m going to be posting regularly with updates on how the project is going, and what the feedback is from the students.

If you’ve done anything like this before, I’d love to hear from you – just leave a comment here or message me on Twitter.

In the area?

I’m always keen to meet new people, so if you’re in the Cambridge or London area, get in touch and I’ll buy you a coffee.

Contact me using the social links above or at rob [at] robpercival.co.uk.

Partner up…

I’m always on the lookout for interesting new opportunities, particularly if you’re in the Cambridge or London area.

I’m particularly focused on educational startups at the moment, but would be happy to discuss working with anyone who has a good idea and a desire to build something great.

Contact me using the social links above or at rob [at] robpercival.co.uk.